Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo is now available in trade. The Portland Trail Blazers should steer well clear of any trade involving him though.
Jared Weiss of The Athletic reported that the two-time All-Star is looking to move in the off-season. Weiss discussed this in relation to a trade between the Pacers and the Boston Celtics, but it would be safe to assume that many teams would be interested in the 28-year-old Oladipo.
He has had serious injury issues the last two seasons, so only a certain type of team could take this sort of risk. This is a swing for the fences type of trade that a team on the outside looking in could make. The Blazers aren’t that team, though.
A team like the New York Knicks have multiple contracts and assets they could use to make a trade like this – they have nothing to lose.
The Blazers, have just the one realistic tradeable contract and one first-round pick. They have also everything to lose with just the one year left on Oladipo’s contract.
Oladipo has $21 million on the final year of his deal. This salary means that he doesn’t match up with Trevor Ariza, as the Pacers would need to take back $18.6 million of salary for sending out Oladipo.
The more pressing issue though, is the fit. Oladipo is a ball heavy guard who is at his best as a 1a or 1b scorer and facilitator. Even if he can guard some wings because of his length and strength, because he is just six-foot-four, he is a two-guard.
Oladipo doesn’t fit with CJ McCollum and Gary Trent Jr. on the team. The Blazers need a backup ball-handler, but not a ball-dominant guard. Even though Oladipo is an All-Defensive guard, he just doesn’t make sense on this Blazers team.
You can’t play three guards that are six-foot-four and under together, especially when you consider this would leave Trent on the bench.
I know what some fans will be thinking now – why don’t you trade CJ McCollum for him?
That is a hard no. Firstly, the two salaries don’t match. They would need the Pacers to add salary to make the deal work. And because Oladipo’s value is low after his injury issues, the Pacers would need to add another asset.
Even if they did, for example, add a pick and say Aaron Holiday as well, It would be far too risky because of Oladipo’s injury history.
Oladipo could be a better fit next to Dame because of his defense; but you are giving up the reliability and long-term health of McCollum, who is on team control for four more years, for Oladipo, who has one year left and has serious health concerns.
The Blazers have an Oladipo-lite on their roster already. His name is Gary Trent Jr. He is a better three-point shooter than Oladipo, even if his defense and passing are worse. Trent is also only paid $2 million a year.
Some fanbases will be clamoring to see their team trade for Oladipo after his sensational 2017/18 season. But, that was three years and one serious injury ago.
The reason that teams like the Knicks can jump on a trade like this, is because they have been bad for years, and if Oladipo got back to All-Star levels, they would be a playoff team.
But the Blazers are already in the playoffs, and if this didn’t work for them – they would likely be out of the playoffs and have no way of improving the team.
There may be trades the Blazers can make that would improve their championship chances, but this one has way more risk than reward. It’s a no from me.